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EU fund builds skills

European commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities Vladimir Spidla and UK Parliamentary under secretary for work and pensions James Plaskitt have started a scheme to help disadvantaged people find work.

Over the next seven years, the European Social Fund programme for England will help 200,000 people get jobs and enable at least 140,000 of the most disadvantaged people make progress toward the labour market. It also aims to help 80,000 disadvantaged young people into learning or a job.

The two main priorities are extending employment opportunities for unemployed and disadvantaged people and developing a skilled and adaptable workforce focusing on people with low skills.

Plaskitt says the programme will invest £2bn of ESF funding in England over the next seven years, matched by £2bn of national funding.

Spidla says recent EU efforts to boost jobs are showing results. He says: “The number of people at work is rising and unemployment is falling but more needs to be done. The ESF strengthens Europe’s capacity to create good jobs and equip workers with the right skills to fill them but these objectives must be put into practice at the level of the member states.”

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